I have to admit that I am at a loss as to how to follow up to Fernando Esponda’s curiosity about how medical thinking could be applied to economics. Esponda: “Can the treatment of a disease be mapped in any meaningful way to the treatment of economic ailments? Think of abnormal growths, what is the equivalent of a biopsy for a tumor in an economic bubble?” These are difficult questions and I think in considering economics, identifying “ailments” implies deciding standards of “best practice” and even a consideration of ethics—what a slippery slope! So, rather than opening that can of worms I dug up some good introductory material on agent-based modeling in medicine.
In the above video Josh Epstein (of The Brookings Institution) describes how a smallpox outbreak could be explored through agent-based modeling. So with this medical example in mind, can the ScienceBlogs community point to any applications of this technique in economics? If you have any links or leads please share them, if I can find enough material I’ll compile it into a post later this week.